In one of those classic “fortuitous” moments that happen at the South by Southwest Festival, which used to be a great opportunity to try ‘shrooms and has since morphed into a great opportunity to be totally progressive or suffer a different type of stoned, Bill Nye the Science Guy asked the last question of the adored Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.
Slate, which is chronicling AOC’s rise to power for the newer testament, provides the transcript.
“I’m a white guy,” he started. “I think the problem on both sides is fear. People of my ancestry are afraid to pay for everything as immigrants come into this country. People who work at the diner in Alabama are afraid to try to ask for what is reasonable. So, do you have a plan to work with people in Congress that are afraid? I think that’s what’s going on with many of the conservatives, especially when it comes to climate change. People are just afraid of what will happen if we try to make these big changes.”
Somewhere in the midst of the question, the word “yup” can be heard in a voice that sounds remarkably like AOC’s.
“One of the keys to dismantling fear is dismantling a zero-sum mentality,” Ocasio-Cortez answered. “It means the rejection outright of the logic that says someone else’s gain necessitates my loss and that my gain must necessitate someone else’s loss … We can give without a take.” She went on to address the complaints that her plan to address climate change costs too much: “We’re viewing progress as a cost instead of as an investment … When we choose to invest in our system, we are choosing to create wealth.”
Whereupon, the fulsome pair posted a selfie, because what else could they do?
— Bill Nye (@BillNye) March 10, 2019
It’s one thing to be critical of Nye, whose “science guy” credentials might evoke some strict scrutiny had he not been a vocal proponent of climate change, but why should anyone pay attention to a freshman House representative whose prior experience in government was waiting tables (not that there’s anything wrong with that)?
That AOC (and there can be no real celebrity without a name that everyone recognizes without having to actually include the name) has become the mouthpiece for the Democrat’s version of the tea party is clear. She’s not merely a celebrity, now, but beyond the reach of such dinosaurs as Pelosi and Feinstein.
Worse yet, while candidates for the Democratic nomination for the presidency are doing their utmost to distinguish themselves from the herd, they can’t get the spotlight off AOC. Like it or not, she’s pulled off a coup. Even when she says something completely, if adorably, wrong, a tidal wave of excuses arises to defend her. This might sound familiar to people who pay attention to the utterances of usurpers in Washington these days.
But her response to Nye was one that she’s made before, that the rules of logic should be rejected in favor of aspirational rhetoric.
The freshman lawmaker ended by saying that taking bold moves can become contagious. “Courage begets courage,” she said. “The first person who stands up has to encounter the most amount of fear and discomfort, but once that one person stands up, it becomes immensely easier for the second person and the third.”
Americans love bold moves, as it makes them feel as if they are doing something important. And AOC may not actually be the first person to stand up and deny that facts and logic are constraints on her dreams, but she certainly owns it at the moment. Even though she’s not eligible to run for president due to her youth, can the Democrats field a candidate who doesn’t kneel before AOC and pray for a selfie?
Is the real message here that the old liberal Democrats have lost the battle for the party faithful and they can either get on board with the young and the restless or get out of the way? So it might seem, comrade.